Report from Howard:
Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire is a fine venue for a testing mainly off road 10K. The trees were multi-coloured, the sun shone, the air was still and cool and all in all a great day to race alongside (or better still in front of) another 485 runners. A first, as far as I know, in that more than half the field today, were women (258 finished). A respectful start on remembrance Sunday with two minutes silence, preceded by a cornet playing the last post with a young lad hitting all the difficult notes. I had left the drive a bit late and took a wrong turn in Thirsk so had to park in one of the late spots 15 minutes from the start. By the time I had picked up the number, left my stuff back in the car and jogged back to the start, I was well warmed up and primed ready to go go go! Cornet played, silence, count -down from 10 and we are off. I was stationed maybe three rows back from the front and the first 500 metres is downhill so I was able to speed off with the pack. A few in the wrong place but that sorted itself out by the time we got to the bottom of the hill approaching 1K. I had a good week of training so was not fazed by the hill and apart from maybe three or four youngsters passing me going up I was around where I should be. There is a prize for the first man and women across the top of the hill (King and Queen of the hill) actually in an odd place about 500 metres before the hill ends but close to the 3K mark. There felt to be power in my legs today, so I kicked on up the last of the hill where the marshals encouraged you with ‘it’s all downhill from here’. Quite a gap had opened between me and most of the rest of the field behind and now the targets were all straight ahead. Avid readers of my weekly column will be aware I am still able to scorch downhill and although the tarmac had turned to track, the going was solid, just beware the mountain bikers on the way up! I built up a head of steam and overtook maybe 15 people on the rapid descent. ETA went steadily down from 46 minutes at 4K to 42 at 7K, 40 at 8K. At 8.5K the track levels off a bit and although only slightly undulating I was disappointed to have gone through 9K in under 36 minutes, maintaining my speed, to find by the finish, the time had gone back up to a time of 41.37. Still in 2014 I finished in 41.36 and was first o/60 so pleased to be within a second, two years older and wiser (?). Almost forgot, first o/60 today too in 53rd place. The race was won by Chris Roberts of York Knavesmire Harriers in 33.15, first lady Helen Cross, unattached, in 36.32 in 9th place. No other B&W’s here today but spoke to a couple who finished just in front of me who are about to move to live in Otley so I said they would be most welcome at the club, so maybe shades of grey (not in that way!) at the moment.